Writing a Research Proposal
Dr. Pearl Wattanakul
Department of Teaching English to Speakers
of Other Languages
Payap University
Workshop on “Research Writing in ESL/EFL” at
Room 1203,
Yonok University
What is research?
Research is the systematic approach to
obtaining and confirming new and
reliable knowledge
The Process of
• The process is initiated with question or problem
• The next step is to formulate goals or objectives
to deal with the problem
• The third step in the process is research design
• The fourth step that is generating research
• Add, the last step is interpret results and draw
Research Proposal
Type of Research
Research field
Rationale/Significance or Statement of the
Research Question / Hypothesis
Purposes / Objectives of the Study
Significance of the Study
Scope and Limitations
Definitions of Term
Research Proposal
Structure (cont.)
• Literature Review
• Research Methodology
a) Research Design and Plan
b) Population and Samples
c) Instruments
d) Data collection/ Procedure
e) Data Analysis
Schedule /Time line
Classification of
Research by Purpose
1) Basic research: It is conducted for the
purpose of theory development and
2) Applied research: It is conducted for the
purpose of applying, or testing, theory and
evaluating its usefulness in solving
3) Evaluation research: It aims at facilitating
decision making regarding the relative
worth of two or more alternative actions.
Evaluation involves questions such as the
Is this program worth what it cost?
Is the new experimental reading curriculum
better than the former curriculum?
4) Research and Development (R&D): It
aims at developing effective products to
meet specific needs such as teacher
training materials, or management system.
5) Action research aims at solving problems
through the application of scientific
Classification of
Research by Method
1) Historical Research: It is conducted to
study, understanding, and explaining
past events in order to arrive at
conclusion concerning causes, effects or
trend of past occurrences that may help
to explain present events and anticipate
future events.
Exp: Participation of Women in Higher
Education in 1900-2009
2) Descriptive research: It is conducted to
test hypothesis or answer questions
concerning the current status of the
subject of the study.
Exp: A survey of teachers to determine how
and to what degree they believe anxiety
affects achievement.
3) Correlational research: It attempts to
determine whether, and to what degree, a
relationship exists between two or more
quantifiable variables. It aims at
establishing a relationship (or lack of it) or
to use relationships in making predictions.
Exp: A study to determine the relationship
between scores on an anxiety scale and
scores on an achievement measure.
4) Causal-Comparative research: It is
conducted to examine the difference, or
effect which is determined to occur or not
occur. The cause is not manipulated; it has
already occurred. The cause-effect
relationships are at best tenuous and
Exp: A study to compare the achievement of
group of students classified as high-anxious
and a group classified as low-anxious.
5) Experimental research: It truly establishes
cause-effect relationships. The researcher
manipulates at least one independent variable
and observes the effect on one or more
dependent variables.
Exp: A study to compare the achievement of
two groups- one group taught in an anxiety –
producing environment and one group taught
in an anxiety-reducing environment
Steps in Conducting
Research Problem
1) Selection of a problem
“What is to be researched?”
“Why does this research need to be conducted?”
a) Identify a general problem area that is related to your
area of expertise and of particular interest of you.
b) Read different research studies and focus your
research very specifically.
b) Narrow down the general problem area to a specific,
researchable problem.
c) Get the most meaningful problem derived from theory.
2)Characteristics of a good research problem:
a) It is researchable.
b) It has theoretical or practical
c) It is a well-written statement which indicates
the variables of interest to the researcher and
the specific relationship between those variables
which is to be investigated.
3) Include a title on your proposal
a) Have the most important words appear
toward the beginning of your title
b) Limit the use of ambiguous or
confusing words.
c) Breaking your title up into a title and
subtitle when you have too many
d) Include key words that will help you in the
future find your work.
• Example: The purpose of the study is to
investigate the effect of positive reinforcement
on the quality of English composition.
The variables: 1) positive reinforcement
2) good quality of English
[The purpose is to see if positive reinforcement
(the cause) influence the quality of composition
(the effect)]
a) Statement of the problem should be
accompanied by a presentation of
background of the problem (information
required for an understanding of the
problem) including a justification for the
study ( in term of its contribution to theory
or practice).
Exp: The introduction might begin with a problem
“The purpose of the study is to compare the
effectiveness of teacher assistants and parent
volunteers with respect to the reading
achievement of Prthom 1 students” followed by a
discussion concerning (1) the role of teacher
assistants, (2) increased utilization of teacher
assistants by schools, (3) the expenses involved,
and (4) the search for alternatives, such as parent
volunteers. The significance of the problem would
be that if parent volunteers are equally effective,
their use can be substituted for teacher assistants.
Objectives of the research study
1. Link to the primary and secondary
research problem
2. Clearly identify, briefly define and delimit
the specific area, central ideas and concepts
of the study.
Review of the Literature
“What has been researched on this topic before?”
It involves the systematic identification, location,
and analysis of documents containing information
related to the research problem.
a) Theoretical paradigm
b) Research constructs
c) Relationship between the variables
In proposal , the literature review is brief and to the point.
Research questions/Hypotheses
A research question poses a relationship
between two or more variables but
phrases the relationship as a question; a
hypothesis represents a declarative
statement of the relations between two or
more variables. (Kerlinger,1979;
Krathwohl, 1988)
Research question:
Is there a relationship between students’
self-efficacy and their success in learning
There is no relationship between students’
self-efficacy and their success in learning
Research design:
Research Design is a plan for collecting
utilizing data so that desired information
can be obtained with sufficient precision or
so that an hypothesis be tested properly
• A population refer to all “members of any
well-defined class of people, event, or
object” who, for research purposes, are
designated as being the focus of an
• Specify who or what is your population.
• If there are different components of
population, clearly indicate it.
Those individuals or event that are selected
from the population to serve as the subject
are known as the sample for a study.
Sampling Design
Process of selecting a number of units for a
study in such a way that the units represent the
larger group from which they are selected.
Identify what type of sampling you use, which
sampling technique you employ in the study,
why you apply it to your study, and how the
sample is selected.
Indicate the size of the sample .
Sampling and representativeness
Population Sample
Target Population
Target Population  Sampling Population  Sample
Types of Sampling
• 1) Probability Sampling
• The sample is a proportion (a certain percent) of
the population and such sample is selected from
the population by means of some systematic
way in which every element of the population
has a chance of being included in the sampleใ
• 2) Non- Probability Sampling
• The sample is not a proportion (a certain
percent) of the population and there is no
systematic in selecting the sample. The
selection depends upon the situation.
Types of Probability Sampling
1) Simple random sampling
2) Systematic sampling
3) Stratified sampling
4) Cluster sampling
Types of NonProbability Sampling
• 1) Accidental sampling/ Convenience
• 2) Purposive sampling :
a) Quota sampling
b) Judgment sampling
1) Treatment
2) Data collection instrument
Identify the instruments you propose to use.
If instruments have previously been used,
indicate the previous studies to show
reliability and validity of the instruments.
Identify how to make the instruments valid
and reliable for collecting data.
Data Collection
Outline the general plan for collecting data.
Clearly state whether you are going to use
primary or secondary data.
Data Analysis
Specify the procedures you will use and label them accurately.
a) Preanalysis procedure: scoring procedures, tabulation
and coding procedures, nominal scales, ordinal scales,
interval scales, ratio scales.
b) Descriptive statistics: graphing data, mode, median,
mean, standard deviation, etc.
c) Inferential statistics: standard error, the null hypothesis,
test of significance (t-test, ANOVA),etc.
d) content analysis, triangulation
Time line
1.Research from different sources
2. Select a problem
3. Research Design
4. Research proposal
5. Construct instruments
6. Improve instrument
7. Collect data
8. Analyze data
9. Write research report
x x
x x
• APA Style
• MLA style
Thank you
your attention.